Best Practices: Video in Bike Retail

It's easy to get caught up in the Got-To-Win-The-Google-Search game and forget about the second largest search engine in the world, YouTube. YouTube is arguably more engaging than any other social platform and it allows people to make a personal connection far faster than Facebook, Twitter, etc. YouTube should be taken very seriously by all retailers and I strongly encourage building a strategy going forward on the channel. If you're skeptical, here are some absolutely crazy stats to prove how much of an impact YouTube is making: 

  • Over a billion people have YouTube accounts. 
  • 4 billion YouTube videos are viewed each day.
  • 100 hours of video is uploaded every minute.
  • 40% of YouTube traffic comes from mobile. 
  • 14.4% of Americans use YouTube during work. 
  • 19.1 million monthly unique visitors for YouTube in the UK.
  • 60 million YouTube users in China (where YouTube is blocked by the government)
  • 50% of teens consider YouTube their favorite site. 
  • 70% of Millennials visit YouTube at least monthly. 
  • 58% of Generation X visit YouTube at least monthly. 
  • 40% of Baby boomers visit YouTube at least monthly. 
  • YouTube is 20.5% of the US video advertising market. 
  • Average sales order value for visitors referred by YouTube is $27.63.

All these stats came from here

I've gone ahead and compiled some of my favorite bike shop videos to give you some ideas of what people are already doing. Check them out:

PEDAL by Gears Bike Shop

Gears Bike Shop did an amazing job in this video. It's calm, it's understated, it's clean. It never tries to sell you, rather it tries to convey an experience. 

SPRING 2013 by Bicycle Gallery

Bicycle Gallery's video is here to sell you, but it's not Crazy Eddie on a car lot sales. It's showing you how the local shop is preparing for the coming season and dropping all sorts of ideas on how you can be a part of it. I especially love the final bit where they say what camera they used and how that camera was on sale at the store. Also, the music is perfect. 

LESSONS IN LAYEROLOGY by Big Poppi Bicycle Company

Humor, humor, humor. Nothing wrong with having a bit of fun. 

OUR COMPANY CULTURE by Big Poppi Bicycle Company

Going to give Big Poppi double props here. With this video they are teaching people about their culture. To quote Simon Sinek, "People don't buy from you because they need what you have, they buy because they believe what you believe." This video does that wonderfully. If you believe in fun, teamwork, and inclusive environments then you'll love Big Poppi... who just happens to sell and repair bicycles. 


Along the same lines the Art's Cyclery Trailer is showing us why they exist- to ride, race, teach, rip, soar, etc. It's short, it's clean, and it make me want to ride. 

HOW WE ROLL by Mike's Bikes

The video from Mike's Bikes doesn't stop at telling us why they exist, they go on to say how they do it (locations, training, community-based) and what they do (bike sales, fit, repair). It might not be a video I watch twice, but it's definitely a video I will watch. Especially if I landed on this video when I hit their website. 

Some honorable mentions:

Bicycle Gallery, Ride A Specialized

718 Cyclery, Inverted Bike Shop

North Shore Bike Shop, Commercial

Do you know of any great videos from bike retailers? If so, share them in the comments.

Hope you found this post helpful. If so, please consider sharing it. Thanks- Donny.  

Want more? Take a look at Leading Out Retail. This book is a creative look at bicycle retail and teaches retailers simple strategies on how to increase profit through service, what the most important question to ask every customer is, and how to manage the dreaded Timmy Factor.

Best Bike Shop Business Cards

I'm always pleased when I see bike retailers rethinking the ordinary. For example, Broke Bike Alley in Fernie, BC, Canada has a couple of great new takes on the business card. Both of these cards achieve my two rules of great marketing:

1. Make a personal connection
2. Be very, very helpful. 

The first business card doubles as a multi-tool, the second is a tire patch. 

Want more? Take a look at Leading Out Retail. This book is a creative look at bicycle retail and teaches retailers simple strategies on how to increase profit through service, what the most important question to ask every customer is, and how to manage the dreaded Timmy Factor.

Just Because You Count It, Doesn't Mean It Counts

The greatest trick the internet ever pulled was convincing the world it would be easy to do.

If you want to know the ROI on your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feed, if you want to know the value of an impression, or if you want to constantly recreate your social campaigns, I hate to tell you that you're in for a lot of work There is a fallacy that says the internet is easy. That once you start tweeting fans, admiration, and money start rolling in. 

It' all a lie. There is no easy button. No one-size-fits-all aggregation tool. There is only hard work combined with a clear vision. 

There is an ROI on social, but first you have to understand your marketing strategy for the entire business. You show me the marketing strategy for the company, I will show you the ROI.

Social is not fast. It takes time, dedication, and a continued effort to connect to people you don't know. If you can't add value to someone's life then you're time on social is going to e painful (Hint: adding value is not selling you product. Not yet anyway.)

If you liked this, please consider sharing. Thanks- Donny

What Happens Before We Buy?

Have you ever visited a store and saw something awesome, then went home and checked it out online, then asked your friends about it, and then went back to the store to buy it? 

I like to call these points in time, micro conversions. Nearly every purchase we make is preempted by a micro conversion or a series of micro conversions. When someone is overwhelmed by micro conversions it can become too much to handle. The desire to purchase is like an enormous weight on their shoulders. These are the people that walk into the store, throw down a credit card, point to a bike and say, “That one. Now!” 

In bike retail it’s easy to focus on the macro conversion (when someone makes a purchase). That’s where we find the glory of the sale, that’s where the commission is, and that’s when we feel the satisfaction of a job well done. 

However, I like to remind retailers- without a healthy strategy around acquiring micro conversions, we will never see macro conversions.

If you found this post valuable. It would be amazing if you shared it. Thanks - Donny

The True Definition of Bike Shop Marketing

Merriam-Webster defines marketing as “The activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc.” I would confidently say that this is the most boring definition of marketing I have ever read. Instead I believe that effective marketing- unlike advertising or branding -means only doing two things.

1. Maintain a positive connection with customers.

2. Be extremely helpful.

How do you maintain a positive connection? How are you being extremely helpful?

Thanks for reading. If you found this valuable, it would be great if you shared it. Thanks- Donny

Read This Before You Waste Another Tweet

When is the best time to tweet? How about the best time to update your Facebook status? Or Instagram? We're all looking for a shortcut but here is the hard truth. 

There is no perfect time to tweet that works for every person or business. There is only the perfect time to tweet that works for you and your readers. Articles or experts that argue otherwise are usually presenting some form of aggregated data, which any data analyst will tell you, tends to clump.

Believing in clumps of aggregated data is falling victim to the shotgun fallacy. Aim a shotgun at the side of a barn, pull the trigger, and there will be hundreds of little holes spread across the barn. But there will also be a clump of those shots in the middle. A shotgun fallacy is when you draw a target around that clump and tell everyone, "I hit the target!"

For example, some social media experts will tell you that people check Twitter at 9:00 on Saturday. Though for a bike retailer, 9:00am on a Saturday may be the most popular time for their customers to be out riding their bike. So, that tweet is essentially wasted. Instead posting between 11 and noon might be better, when their customers are finished with their bike ride and checking their feeds. 

I encourage the bike retailers I work with to test multiple times and track which times of day create the most engagement. Turning your calendar to the viewership f your audience is the best way to get huge results from your social channels.

Thank you for reading this far. If you have found this piece valuable I would appreciate it if you shared it on your social channels. Thanks again, Donny

Book Summary: Reinventing the Wheel by Chris Zane

It’s not too often you see a book about the business of bike retail. Zane’s Cycles is located in Branford, CT. Here is a short video where Founder/President Chris Zane describes his business, and here is where you can buy the book


Chris claims a 23% annual increase in revenue over the year before is his company’s average growth.

Nothing was focused on how to execute a sale, instead everything was focused on a higher level on how to get the customer in the store and keep them coming back for life.

The book worked like bike-shop specific bookends on any day-to-day work. Before you can execute a sale or service effectively, company visions like this need to be in place.

While the sales strategies Chris presents aren’t new (in fact he tells us where many of his ideas came from) they are new to the cycling industry. While marketing to gay/lesbian communities is obvious for millions of other companies, I wonder how many bike shops look into expanding their market there?

He mentions several times his plan to grow his one store location to 100 stores nationally. Too bad he never details how he plans to do it. Will be exciting to watch as he does.


1. Zane’s average lifetime value of a customer is $12,500

This give Zane’s roughly $5000 profit if they earn maximum customer loyalty

The lifetime value allows them to understand the cost of acquiring and earning a customer

Arguing over a $100 return is not worth losing the customer and their lifetime value of $12,500

If a business does not understand their customer’s lifetime value, they do not know where to begin pricing strategies in service or marketing.

2. Zane’s has a 3-leg stool to their business. Products, service, and price.


Strong relationships with strong vendors and suppliers

Vendors need to be willing to go the extra mile in warranty and delivery

Vendors are not partners. Zane’s is their customer and they expect their vendors to treat them as well as they would treat their own customers.


Satisfaction guarantee. If a customer is not happy with any product they bought, at any time, they can return it for a full cash refund. The author tells a story of a full cash refund he gave a customer who brought in a bike that was 6 years old. The customer then bought a bike 3x the value and has been a loyal customer since. Proving the value of the lifetime customer.

Lifetime free repairs. All repairs that come from general use of the bike are free for life. This focuses his staff to assemble bikes in a manner that demands very little return and strong product education to his customers. The cost of free service is a no-brainer to Chris when compared to the lifetime value of the customer.

Kid’s trade-up program. If a parent buys their kid a bike they can return it for full value towards the purchase of the next size up. While it sounds crazy, this has been a profit center for the shop. The idea that a trade-up program is in place makes the sale easy. Only a portion are traded in and those are donated which earns the shop free marketing and new customers.

Lifetime flat repair program. For $20 you can buy free flat repair for the life of your bike. They sell 4000 of these programs a year and perform free flat fixes about 50 times a year. 4000 x $20 / 50 = $1600 earned for every free flat fix they do. People who ride a lot and are more likely to get flats don’t buy in to the program- they need to know how to fix a flat themselves.


90-day price guarantee. They match any price and then some.

Because the services Zane’s offers seems too good to be true, they match any price their customers can find on a bike up to 90 days after the purchase

When a customer does ask for a price match they give them an additional percentage on top to be sure Zane’s had the cheapest price. 

This discount is acceptable in light of the customer’s lifetime value.

3. Where to put your efforts in marketing

Zane believes that 30% of customers are price conscience buyers, 30% of customers are experience conscience buyers and the remaining 40% can be persuaded to go either way. If you attempt to market to 100% of your customers you will gain approximately 50%. If you market just price or experience you will gain approximately 70%.

Experienced focused buyers spend more, so market your services and the shopping experience. Not the super deals on price. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this far. If you found value in this piece would you please consider sharing it on social? Thanks again. Donny

Only One Customer A Bike Shop Should Care About. Seriously.

When trying to understand who the customer is, I believe there are only three people who could walk into a independent bike retailer. These three customers are not determined by their locality, age, gender, or any other demographic. They are:

Customer 1: Cyclists in your market who have purchased from you before.

Customer 2: Cyclists in your market who have not purchased from you.

Customer 3: People in your market who are not cyclists.

So when building a marketing plan, choosing product selection, or designing the customer experience- who should a retailer focus on? Customers 2 and 3 will take a lot of time, a lot of money, and have a very little return. Instead, I believe they should focus on the people who have already made a purchase, they are the biggest potential growth opportunity.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you found value in this piece would you please consider sharing it on social? Thanks again. Donny

What Bike Shops Will Be Talking About In January

Happy New Year. On feeds, blogs, and newsletters there is always something to write about, always something to promote, and always something to look forward to. Here is a list of events retailers could be talking about this month. 

Levi’s GranFondo
Tour Down Under
Cyclocross National Championships
Mountain Nationals
National Doprah Day
New Year’s Day
National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
Martin Luther King Day
Get to Know Your Customer Day
National Pie Day
Chinese New Year
Diet Resolution Week
Get Organized Month

How could you turn these events into a talking point for your business?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you found value in this piece would you please consider sharing it on social? Thanks again. Donny